For the Book called: God for Dummies
I. The Redemptive Silence of the Virgin Mary:
The redemptive silence of the Virgin Mary is the story of every human being with whom God enters into a sacred covenant for the sake of salvation. I like to define the redemptive silence of the Virgin Mary as the flowing river, or the Gate of Heaven or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Way of Light that allowed God to enter and act directly in our human history. For through Mary, her few words and her many silences, God the Father revealed His Divine Providence where in all Divine Wisdom God acted fully our Redemption that we have all received through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
II. The Redemptive Silence of the Virgin Mary in relationship to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
It is ok sometimes to speak little bit of Faith beliefs. Today, I like to share with us all the value of the Silence in the Virgin Mary as a sign of obedience to God the Father; full support and Trust in the work of the Son, her Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and as the consoling remedy and the defending person to Jesus in the Holy Spirit. For, like the Holy Spirit, Mary never left Jesus during his most public difficult times, she remained standing near the Cross, and more so she remained with the Apostles and the Disciples of Jesus at the sending out of the Church.
III. The Virgin Mary in the New Testament:
In the New Testament, The Virgin Mary is mentioned 12 times in the Gospel of Luke all in the infancy of Jesus; 6 Times in the Gospel of Matthew, five of which at the infancy of Jesus and once in Chapter 13:55 when the Jews asks about Jesus saying that they know his father and his mother and his brothers and his sisters; 3 times in the Gospel of Mark, but only once Mark mentions her by name in Mark 6:3 in the same context of knowing Jesus’s family. the other two times Mark refers to the Virgin Mary as the Mother of Jesus or Jesus’ mother; 2 times in the Gospel of Saint John, though he only he refers to her as the Mother of Jesus. John’s mentions are the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, (John 2: 1-12) and when he describes her standing near the Cross in John 19: 25- 26 along with Mary Magdalen, Mary of Cleophas and the disciple that Jesus loved.
The total of the mentions of the Virgin Mary in all four gospels is 23 times. On the other hand, we find few other mentions about the Virgin Mary in the New Testament namely in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Book of Revelation. 1 time in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1: 14) Saint Luke, who wrote this book, mentions the Virgin Mary in the context of what took place after the ascension of Jesus until the day of Pentecost. Three times in the Book of Revelation, Saint John mentions “the woman clothed with the Sun; and the woman with the male child” in (Revelation 12: 1, 5- 6). According to many interpretations, there is one other reference to the Virgin Mary in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 11: 19), when the Revelation speaks about the Temple of God appearing and the Ark of the Covenant appearing in its midst; Mary is associated with the Ark of the Covenant.
28 times of total mentions about the Virgin Mary in all of the New Testament! Finally, it is very important to refresh our memory about the definition of the New Testament being an integral part of the Holy bible namely it speaks about Jesus, the early foundation of the Church, the Letters, and the Book of Revelation called the Apocalypse. Remember that the New Testament has in it 27 books.
IV: The Triumphant Heart of the Virgin Mary leads all people to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Gift of Redemption
In the First week of July, I had the privilege to sit and listen to Mother Olga, an Assyrian nun originally from Iraq, who became Catholic and the founder of a congregation of sisters who is under the Archdiocese of Boston's jurisdiction. I was able to attend her workshop on The Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary at the National Apostolate of Maronites Convention in Greenville, South Carolina. Her first statement was the commonality of mentions and beliefs about the Virgin Mary in all or most traditions of the Holy church. “In all apostolic Church traditions there is something about the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” mother Olga said. Then she told the story of Our Lady of Fatima In 1917, where the Virgin Mary told the three children of Fatima to pray to the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart who contemplates on our behalf the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mother Olga spoke about praying once with a Muslim man in Boston who was dying with cancer. Having attended Islamic Studies, she knew the boundaries with Muslims. She always held rosaries in their hands or upon their shoulders. In fact, there is something similar to the Rosary beads in Islam, for Muslims pray the 99 beads. They are called the Good Names of God. So the beads are a common type of prayer. In one of her conversations with the sick Muslim man who asked for Catholic chaplain while in the Hospital, mother Olga asked him, “Why did you ask for a Catholic Christian person to pray not for Muslim Sheikh?” He responded, “I will be honest with you sister, the second largest book of Quran is the Book of Maryian. When I knew I was dying and they wanted to send me back home, I really wanted to see Allah. I really did not want to take a chance. So I thought Mary is the closest person to Allah. We call her Sayedat Al-Alamine, The Lady of Heaven and Earth. Thinking about her this way, I knew that Catholics are closer to her then me, and I really wanted to have someone pray to her to get me to Allah.”
Mother Olga consequently decides to teach the Muslim man the prayer of the Rosary. She said that the man once asked her: “teach me how to invoke her Name.” As a result, mother Olga taught him the Rosary and she exclaims, “So I kept my Rosary with him.” Mother Olga continues that “After he died, nurses told me that every time the last week before he left the hospital he felt great pain, he would squeeze on that Rosary and feel at peace.”
My dear brothers and sisters, something is very powerful in the prayer of the Rosary. It extends the Mystery of Redemption and brings God near every soul who is in trouble, or in suffering, or under attack. The Rosary also changes the course of public history, it changes political destinies and military plans. The Rosary stands near the cross of the sufferer, just like the Virgin Mary stood near the Cross of her only Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. The Rosary also is an evangelizer who speaks without talking about Jesus’s love for our humanity. It feels as if the Rosary is also the Gate for the foes of Christ to convert, or to protect the faithful from evil. The Rosary addresses the Mystery of Salvation granted to us by God the Father through contemplation of the Life of Christ, bringing the grace and Heaven’s Blessings to us to me now as I pray in the Holy Spirit. The Prayer of the Rosary is the extension of the Redeeming Silence of the Virgin Mary, who keeps speaking and evangelizing through prayers and motions of Joy, of Sadness, of Glory and of Light the great Face of God who is all Life.
The Rosary is one of the best tools for evangelization, it is the calendar that God put in the hands of the Virgin Mary to ensure the continuation of Salvation to reach every space and time. The Rosary insures divine appointments granting occasions for people to confess, to vow out their internal pain, revealing the people’s most internal and most existential cries and needs for God and his Mother.
In her workshop, mother Olga spoke about meeting people during travels and on the planes. She once met a lady on a plane who did not like the Catholic Church, and had lots of anger and many questions and objections. Mother said, “I usually meet people where they are. I don't challenge them but I accept their statements”. Consequently mother said that “behind the anger of the people lays the remaining love that is still held in the heart of the hurt people to the Catholic Church.”
In this regard mother Olga continued saying: “It hurts much where we love much.” Through the pain of the people and our sympathy and attention to that pain, mother Olga found the way to change people’s heart. Consequently, looking at today’s world, just like in the past, the Church in fact is accused of allowing souls to be sad and not to see Christ, especially when the Church is cause of major scandals. As mother Olga said, “But at the end, we all have to realize we are sinful people, we cannot save souls, we know our limitations. But we rely on the ones who know hearts and know souls: Mary and Jesus. The Rosary is a constant reminder for people to come back home.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we see many people who even though are angry at the church but they still carry the Rosary of their grandparents or parents. The Rosary stays with them. Such a contradicting reality made mother Olga conclude the following: Mary through the Rosary never leaves her Children.
Mother said she prayed a lot in her life for peace. She entrusts this nation, she entrusted the election at an early stage, she entrusted Iraq and the Middle East to Our Lady of Fatima for the intention of peace.
My brothers and sisters, we have account of apparitions of the Virgin Mary outside of the New Testament’s 28 mentions of her, that are in the hundreds if not in the thousands. Mary, who remained silent near the cross, today keeps speaking the Words of the Gospel of Good News through many apparitions and changing experiences of people's lives. Each one of us, if not most, have stories to tell about the Virgin doing something for us in our lives. People in the Middle East know better than anyone else the power of the Virgin Mary. Her silence that is the living sign of Obedience, Faith, Trust and consolation from heaven to us, is now in need for our carrying of the Message of the Gospel to all nations of the World: Though the Prayer of the Rosary we can give peace to this world. How dumb it is to know that your prayer can make peace in the world and yet you still decide not to pray? It is not only dumb to do so, but it is evil, too. I invite us to humble prayer of the Rosary accompanied by reflection on the Word of God in the Bible, by examination of Conscience and confession, and by attending and actively participating in the Holy Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy called: The Mass.
May God bless us all and May the Silence of the Virgin Mary near the Cross, be the loud message to us all that through her injured and sad heart, we all get to contemplate the beauty of Salvation that was granted to all of us when Jesus’s Heart was pierced with a lance and blood and water flowed from him to irrigate the entire world with forgiveness of sins and with the gift of Eternal Life.
Fr Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna